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Baked Christmas Gifts

April 27th, 2012

Giving a gift of food that you have made yourself is a loving thing to do. Everyone must eat, so you know your Christmas gifts will be welcome, whether it is as simple as a loaf of homemade bread or as luxurious as a picnic hamper crammed with good things to eat. You can even give Drink and Food Ornaments of their favorite food, drink or snack.
Some foods can, indeed must, be prepared months in advance. Mincemeat, plum pudding, fruit cake, and summer preserves need only to be wrapped at the last moment. Cookies, cakes, breads, and many other foods can be prepared weeks ahead and frozen, but even if you have not done any advance planning there are many marvelous things that can be made in just a few minutes. Giving Christmas Books full of different recipes is also a great idea to send with the home baked goodies.
On the whole, it is considerably easier and certainly preferable to deliver homemade foods by hand, so that both the food and its wrappings are fresh. It is also interesting to match a food Christmas gifts with another Unique Christmas Gifts. For example, if you are giving a gift of homemade granola, enclose the recipe and measured amounts of all ingredients so that the recipient can make another batch.
Give a gift of homemade cookies with a cookie jar, a set of colorful or antique cookie cutters, or an ice cream maker, filled, of course, with some just-made ice cream.
Give homemade bread with a bread knife or an assortment of unusual and rare honeys. Give homemade coffee cake with a coffee pot, a pound of coffee beans, and an electric or hand-turned grinder.
If you have food-loving friends who have a particular interest in one country, choose Christmas gifts that will give them special pleasure. For example, for devotees of all things Italian, give ajar of homemade pasta sauce with a pasta machine, an Italian cookbook, some Italian cheeses, sausages, cookies, chocolates, or wine. For a Chinese cooking enthusiast, give a group of hard-to-find ingredients from a local Chinese gourmet shop or Christmas Decorations & Gifts Store. And make some fortune cookies yourself and include your own “sayings.”

Christmas Stockings Stuffers Ideas

February 24th, 2012

Here are some unique ideas on what to fill your Christmas stockings with. You can fill a stocking with delightfully dopey, funny stuff or you can make a tiny treasure trove of goodies with a theme. One nice theme is the recipient’s known or secret hobbies, as you please; be sure to provide plenty of variety.
For small children you can stuff their Christmas stockings with craft items like crayons, paints, coloring books, and even sidewalk chalk. Another big hit would be bubble bath, bubbles, mini puzzles or different card games. If you want to stay away from putting candy in the stockings, try an alternative like snack size animal cookies, fruit roll-ups or even goldfish. Good places to look for these items for cheap would be at a dollar store, Walmart or even on and online store like Christmas Decorations & Gifts Store.
Blank cassettes are items of the past favorite stocking stuffers, now they would love a gift card for I-Tunes with some new headphones. CD’s are still very popular and would make a great Christmas Stocking Stuffers .
For a luxurious gift for the lady in your life, how about a variety of makeup, slippers, soaps, body sprays and lotions along with a gift certificate for a makeup session, manicure or pedicure?
Tickets are great to put into Christmas stockings. You can tailor them to your budget. Put in a “ticket” or “coupons” good for season tickets for a favorite sports team or amusement park. Think in terms of tickets to rock or chamber music concerts, admission to a comedy club or cooking classes. Your tickets can cover visits to museums, zoos, gardens, movies or a journey to a sunny beach. Homemade coupons make cute stuffers and you can personalize them however you would like.
Giving your child’s teacher Christmas Stockings full of useful goodies the teachers could use for the rest of the year. These stocking stuffers could include items like stickers, post-it notes, cute note pads and pens set, and don’t forget their favorite snacks/ candy. Put some tissue paper at the top and you have a creative gift that you know nobody else would think of!
Don’t forget to hang your stocking with Christmas Stocking Holders on the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicolas will soon be there.

Christmas Stockings of the Past

February 17th, 2012

By the 1880s Santa was asked to accommodate another switch back to the Christmas Stockings. An editorial in The New York Times in December of 1883 noted a definite decrease in the demand for “The German Christmas Tree a rootless and lifeless corpse.” The writer, tongue-in-cheek, speculated that stockings had fallen into disfavor because:
The New England stocking, though admirably suited for holding presents like paper cutters or knitting needles, did not have sufficient room for the ordinary Christmas presents for even an economical home.
On the other hand the tonnage of the Western stocking—especially that of the Chicago type-was so great that it could not be filled except at a cost which few fathers of families could afford.
What was needed, the Times continued, was the newly invented Smith Christmas Stocking, which looked like ordinary hose, but was made of elastic and thus “suited to the circumstances of every family. The inventor has also provided it with a watertight metallic compartment in the region of the toes for the reception of molasses candy,” the soft, sticky substance responsible for ruining many perishable gifts.
Bigger and better Christmas stockings have been a favorite theme of Christmas chroniclers. Frank J. Bonnelle’s poem “Greedy Jim” tells the story of a boy who planned to increase his share of toys by hanging a long rubber stocking “That would reach from his head to the floor / And contain quite as much as a tub / Or, if stretched enough, possibly more.” Santa, surprised at the size of the stocking, “laughed till giant tears wet his eyes.” In the morning the Christmas stockings were so full that to reach it Jim had to climb on a chair, but alas he was punished for being so greedy, for the stocking held nothing but air.
Toward the end of the 19th century, bright red, gaily decorated, specially designed Christmas decorating stockings came on the market, along with the first prefilled Christmas Stocking Stuffers , ranging in size from 8 inches (10 cents) to 30 inches ($3.00). B. Shackman & Co. advertised that:
These surprises, so appreciated by the little ones, are made in transparent nets of various colors, through which the contents can be easily seen. They contain Jewels, Curios, Picture Books, Christmas decorating crafts, Fans, Umbrellas, Dolls, Humming Tops, Cornets, Prizes, Toys, Elegant Christmas Crackers, etc. These are made separately for boys and girls.

Christmas Flower Arrangements

February 10th, 2012

Some of the unusual Christmas Flower Arrangements mediums you can use as alternatives to traditional Mistletoe, Christmas Greenery, Christmas Picks for Christmas Flower Arrangements are Ilex glabra, which is a kind of holly that holds three weeks out of water, five weeks in. It keeps its color year round and doesn’t drop like American holly. Bittersweet is not always allowed to be harvested since it’s on some protected species lists but there are states that permit it. It’s beautiful and looks great wrapped around a Artificial Prelit Christmas Trees; it also dries very nicely. Dried pampas grass is beautiful, lacy, and really fills in a tree.
Try using dried rose hips. Ivy’s neat; doesn’t shed; seems to hold better in wintertime. Use a little laurel it’s like the American holly in that it dries out and blackens. It’s a very popular and cheap roping medium for these Christmas Flower Arrangements, but it doesn’t hold well unless it’s in water. Swamp magnolia is good. Cats’ paws, cottontails or cotton grasses that grow wild in cranberry bogs and look like rabbit tails are unique additions. White mistletoe is hard to find since it’s usually not native in most parts of America. Privet is good, too, and rhododendron leaves (which hold like laurel). Cattails are great. Yews are nice also.
Douglas fir, Scotch pine, and blue spruce branches are good for Christmas Flower Arrangements. Although the spruce’s needles fall off a little faster than the Scotch pine’s, it keeps its color a little better. White pine is the superior pine of all pines. I love blueberry juniper. When using juniper, the male is your choice because you don’t want needles to drop. It has no berries, but it can have pretty little yellow pollen sacs because it pollinates in the winter. Mosses not only look beautiful, but in arrangements they retain moisture without using a lot of water, and they’ll keep things aerated.
For our loved ones that have passé away you may want to create an unusual Christmas Decorations Ideas Christmas Flower Arrangements you can put on their grave at Christmas time. They’re called grave blanket sprays that are placed on the grave in memory of someone. For example, my grandmother loved birds. So each year I make an all-natural birdseed grave blanket with holly, winterberry, dried bayberry, blueberry juniper, and dried sumac. It makes an attractive Yard Garden Decor, and serves a purpose in feeding the birds, which she would have liked.

Christmas Floral Designs

February 2nd, 2012

The Christmas Decorations Ideas of decking our halls with evergreen Christmas Floral Designs at Christmastime is as old as our plea-A sure at seeing green growing things amid the winter’s snow. In the days before the mass production of Miscellaneous Holiday Ornaments, tinsel, and paper chains changed our habits entirely, conifer boughs and branches of holly, ivy, and mistletoe used to festoon all the rooms where guests would be welcomed and children would compete for the honor of crowning each picture on the parlor wall with its spray of Christmas Floral Designs evergreen.
Alongside all the manmade decorations, however, fresh, natural elements have been making a steady comeback. Now we are using more kinds of greenery than ever, and re-learning, too, the old skills of cutting and drying summer flowers and fall berries to delight us afresh with their subtle colors and graceful shapes. City florists and Craft stores stock a whole host of dry foliage for their Christmas Floral Designs. On the weekends take a drive in the country and you will find free beauty along the roadside. Look for dried grasses, seed pods, sticks, drift wood, mosses, vines or fall leaves. There are also many natural plants that can be harvested for making vine Decorative Christmas Wreaths, baskets, Christmas Tree Stands, and decorative swags.
The following are hints and pointers about natural greenery:
Natural plants have a problem with indoor heat. A humidifier is the easiest way to keep things from falling apart as far as external drying goes.
To see if the greenery is fresh shake the damn thing! Basically, it’s just like spaghetti. Before it’s cooked, spaghetti will break, but when it has moisture in it it’s nice and al dente. If the Christmas Floral Designs greenery is old or tired, look for dropage.
Sphagnum moss can be used for securing your natural plant arrangements. It works better than floral foams, Oasis, and things like that. Oasis breaks up, whereas you can pack sphagnum moss as tight as you want and it will breathe and come back again. Once you’ve broken up Oasis it’s gone. However, if you are making a Home Decor Gifts vase arrangement, Oasis is the easiest thing to get.
When making a wreath mount it on a stable surface and buy a wire wreath frame. You can also use vines that keep their body and shape. For greenery, white pine is very good; and so is spruce in terms of using the least amount of branches, because it’s wide.
Christmas swags are easy to make by simply tying three or four branches together with wire. Swags should come out like a fan. I recommend using 20 to 23 gauge florist’s wire. If you stick some holly or red alder twigs in, it’s really very pretty. The more interesting evergreens can be simple, yet still just as effective and dramatic.

Unique Christmas Traditions

January 31st, 2012

WHY WE KISS UNDER THE MISTLETOE
We may be approaching the 21st century, but we still believe that Mistletoe is the kissing-bough.
Legend has it that Freyja, the Norse version of Venus, goddess of love, arranged to have her son. Balder, the Norse Apollo, protected forever against anything derived from fire, water, air and earth.
But Freyja forgot about mistletoe, a parasitic plant that grows on trees without ever touching the ground, and is therefore not of the earth. Sure enough, a clever but evil foe made an arrow from a branch of mistletoe and felled poor Balder.
With considerable help from the local pantheon, Freyja revived her son. Afterwards, she made the then-remorseful mistletoe promise never to cause harm again, and since that time the plant has become a symbol of peace between enemies and love between friends.
In more recent times, Washington Irving wrote in his Sketch Book of “one berry, one kiss.” A man could kiss a woman under the mistletoe if he picked a berry each time he puckered up. Once all the berries were plucked, the kissing stopped. The mistletoe would make a cute Christmas Stocking Stuffers for the one you love Christmas morning.
And if you believe that one, you probably believe in Santa Claus, too.

POINSETTIA: THE AMERICAN CHRISTMAS FLOWER
Most flowers, herbs, and plants used at Christmas are associated with very ancient celebrations. But the poinsettia is an addition of a much later date, the New World’s contribution to Select to see a complete listing of our Christmas Decorations Ideas.
In 1825 Joel Roberts Poinsett of South Carolina, a diplomat who was the first American minister to Mexico, became intrigued with the brilliant red “flowers” topping spindly shrubs all over the countryside. The local people called them “flame flowers” or “flowers of the Holy Night” because they were used as decorations in Mexican Nativity processions.
Today the Ecke family has a thriving business supplying 5,000 growers around the world with cuttings that produce millions of holiday plants each year—an American success story that has become another Christmas legend.

CRADLE PLANTS
Legend tells us that Joseph gathered heaps of grasses to provide a resting place for Mary, and upon that soft bed Jesus was born. The white flowers of Our-Lady’s-bedstraw turned to brilliant gold and burst open, it is said, when the baby was laid upon them and sweet-smelling sainfoin bloomed to form a Decorative Christmas Wreaths of pink flowers around the Christ Child’s head.

Battery Candles

November 17th, 2011

Battery Candles are so integral a part of our modern celebration of Christmas that more than 100 American companies are still manufacturing them, though today computers often control part of the manufacturing process and the candle-cutting equipment may be laser-operated. People often use candles with their Select to see a complete listing of our Christmas Decorations Ideas.
In this efficient, multimillion-dollar business, candles now take on every kind of shape, color, and fragrance, from vanilla, bay-berry, and cranberry to strawberry, lemon, and spice, with names such as English Lavender, Evening Romance, Pina Colada, and Wine and Roses.
The kindly light that began in the Dark Ages with rush dips burning in tallow or oil has moved right along through beeswax into the petroleum wax of modern times without ever losing its honored place in our lives—as esteemed by fashion as by affection.

Everyone loves the glow of wax candles, however in today’s world, filled with excessive insurance premiums, open flame fire codes in public buildings, personal burns from hot wax or wicks, public liability claims, expensive clean up bills, and outdoor fire bans, this once loved icon and tradition is rapidly disappearing.

Today the developments of battery candles that are realistic are replacing the old fashioned wax candles. These new Battery Candles utilize advanced circuitry called LED technology. This LED bulb imitates a realistic flicker flame making the candles a replacement option for events without having the dangers of open flame wax candles. These new Led candles are also safe for children since there is no flame involved.

Electrical candles have been around for many years, but the tungsten light bulbs were not able to replace the soft flickering light generated by a traditional wax candle. Now with the advancement of the light emitting diode, for short LED, that creates a soft flickering flame like glow that realistically mimics the traditional wax candle flame have been solved. These new flickering flame Battery Operated Candles are so good, that people are often fooled by the realism of the new Led candles.
For Christmas, though, it will always be the simplest, pure white candles that prove the most enduring and win our hearts without fail, every year.

Variety of Christmas Flowers

November 8th, 2011

POINSETTIA (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
An emblem of Christmas from south of the border, the poinsettia’s brilliant “flowers” (they are actually brightly colored bracts which attract pollinating insects to the hidden, tiny green flowers) burst forth in red, pink, white, and marbled colors amid handsome green leaves. Poinsettias Home Decor Gifts add a special touch to your home and range from miniatures to six-foot trees, and for best effect they should be clustered, as their growth can be straggly.

AZALEA (Rhododendron species and hybrids)
Clouds of brilliant pink, white, yellow, or mauve flowers conjure up the pastel sunsets in their native lands of Japan, China, and the Himalayas, while red azaleas evoke images of Christmas.

AMARYLLIS (Hippeastrum)
Blush-pink “Apple Blossom,” salmon-orange “Beautiful Lady,” bright red “Fire Dance,” ruby-red “Scarlet Admiral,” and “Snowy White Giant” are the varietal names of the full trumpet-like blossoms, nodding atop this, plant’s tall, slender stalk—to be anthropomorphic, picture Audrey Hepburn sneaking glances at her feet. The perennial bulb, which hails from South America, usually produces two stems, each with two to four flowers that last up to six weeks. They make lovely cuttings for arrangements, or can remain on the plants. Just add some Unique Christmas Ribbon and this plant would make an excellent gift.

BEGONIA (Rieger hybrids)
Tropical, flashy begonias come in all kinds of colors—red, white, pink, yellow, and orange—with flowers that are like bees buzzing around a woman’s bonnet above large, light green leaves. They will bloom freely for months.

STREPTOCARPUS (Cape primrose)
Native to Cape Province, South Africa, this plant has become a welcome Christmas immigrant, with its pink, blue-purple, white, or red flowers nodding like sleepy heads on “throats” painted with contrasting colors above circles of stem less, quilted leaves.

CHRYSANTHEMUM
These Yard Garden Decor have feathery, pungent leaves back up a rich variety of flower shapes: big, bushy pompoms; sprightly daisies; spindly “spiders”; and miniature buttons in spun-sugar pink, lemon yellow, snow white, dusty gold, burnt orange-brown, and many shades more. A special favorite of Japanese horticulturists, these long-lasting plants are now raised to bloom at Christmas time as well as in the fall.

GLOXINIA
If flowers could make a sound, these would surely ring out “Joy to the World.” The Select to see a complete listing of our Christmas Decorations Ideas flowering plants have flaring trumpet shapes of pink, lavender-blue, and white rise on thin stalks above large, velvety, dark green leaves.

Christmas Plants

November 8th, 2011

In the millennia before blooms from the other side of the world could be airlifted to brighten our bleak midwinter’s, the presence of a colorful, living and growing Christmas Plants in dark December seemed positively miraculous. This is surely why so many Mistletoe, Christmas Greenery, Christmas Picks have wonderful tales connected with their origins.
Today, the most miraculous thing about gift Christmas Plants may be the success of the industry in providing us each season with a bigger and better selection of plants to choose from. Flowering Christmas Plants are produced on a massive scale, under rigidly controlled conditions, for the failure of a crop to blossom in time for the Christmas market can mean instant financial disaster. With our Christmases guaranteed to be banked with color, we are groomed along with the plants so that we will be ready to buy exactly when the flowers are there to be sold. In this case, fortunately, just about everyone benefits.

ARDISA
These true Christmas Plants have a deep green, bushy top starred with clusters of bright berries one that can carry Yuletide sentiments throughout the year because the fruits last for many months and even accompany the opening of tiny, fragrant blossoms. This would make a perfect Christmas gift with a Unique Christmas Ribbon wrapped around it.
CHRISTMAS CACTUS
(Schlumbergera, formerly called Zygocactus)
In the rain forests of Brazil these cactuses hang from trees, where they struggle to find light, their segmented stems falling like a daddy longlegs tipped by fuchsia-colored, satiny-petaled flowers. Outside such exotic environments, they look great in hanging baskets or clay pots and adding a pretty touch to your Yard Garden Decor.

CHRISTMAS PEPPER
The fiestas and piñatas of a Mexican Christmas are called to mind by this plant’s oblong chili peppers, which start out green, then turn white, yellow, purple, and finally an orange-red in time for the holiday season. These would make unique Select to see a complete listing of our Christmas Decorations Ideas for your holiday décor.

CITRUS
Fragrant white flowers and bright orange tangerines, yellow lemons, or pale green limes bring a welcome promise of warmer days to any winter. Fruits and flowers often appear simultaneously, and will be produced intermittently over many months.

JERUSALEM CHERRY
(Solarium pseudocapsicum, also called Christmas cherry, Cleve-land cherry)
This plant’s brilliant red-orange fruits are so wickedly enticing that one could imagine them part of a children’s fairy tale, tempting a princess with their poisonous charm. So long as they are not eaten, they make the Jerusalem cherry a merry ornamental plant—for an all-adult household Home Decor Gifts.

KALANCHOE (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, also called panda plant, velvetleaf)
Kalanchoes come from the sultry island of Madagascar and sport tight scarlet-red flowers clustering above succulent foliage, in shapes that resemble the bouffant hair-styles of the 1950s.

Living Christmas Trees

November 7th, 2011

Here are some helpful hints on buying a Real Living Christmas Trees that grows outside but can be moved inside for the Christmas holidays. If you are going to get a live Christmas tree, it is quite important to make your decision early for at least two reasons.
First, nurseries do run out. The best tubbed or replantable trees are gone by the first week in December. Second, if you live in any part of the United States where the ground freezes and you haven’t already dug the tree’s hole and set aside its nice blanket of dirt, you’re going to be facing the undiggable come the New Year.
Some species will thrive better in certain parts of the country than others (ask your nurseryman), but the only universal requirement for a Living Christmas Trees is that it be able to withstand a week or so of dry, warm conditions inside the house. Spruces, Fraser firs, Douglas firs, and most pines are among the species that can cope fairly well, but you cannot keep a living tree in the house much longer than a week, especially with Indoor Christmas Light on it. Two weeks will drastically reduce its chances of survival. If you want to enjoy your Christmas tree longer, you should look into getting a Artificial Christmas Trees For Sale.
Some tips for success with a live tree:
When you go to buy the Living Christmas Trees, check the root ball carefully. It should be full, firm, and well attached to the tree. Inspection will not reveal everything about the condition of the tree, so try to get some information about the nursery before you buy.
Once you get the tree home, don’t rush it into the house. You need to sneak the temperature up gradually so the tree will stay dormant. Cover the root and put the tree in the garage, on the porch, or in the basement for a day or two. Once the tree is in your house for the holidays, simply put a Christmas Tree Skirt around the pot to hide it and then decorate.
Decide how best to water a huge ball of earth in your living room and consider investing in a washtub. Ease your tree out of the house in the same stages you did when you eased it in; don’t shock it awake with a change in temperature. If the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, delay your planting.
Once you get the tree into its hole, cut away the root ball wrapping and fill the hole with soil and mulch. Water it slowly with two or three gallons and stake the tree if it looks at all wobbly.